Review: Garlic Rose ***

11 Sep

Back to that whole birthday thing. I ring it in every year with a lovely dinner out across the table from the man I love. Lucky me! This year, I decided to hit up the Garlic Rose. We’ve been here once before, when we were scrambling to fill out our passports to try to win a free pair of airline tickets from the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. We lost, but we enjoyed trying a slew of new places. Garlic Rose ended up being one of our favorite discoveries.

It’s tucked in behind the way-overrated Cafe Ole and the delightful Brasserie in the heart of Brookside. Though the menu selections are not super-veggie-friendly, there is enough there for a dairy-eating meat-eschewer. Since it’s my birthday, I didn’t worry about health tonight (though, of course, I still wouldn’t eat anything fleshy). We started off with the bruschetta — pronounced broo-SKETT-uh, just so you know. That’s one of my Italian-speaking pet peeves, right up there with “paninis.”

These are some of the best tomato bruschette I’ve had in town. The tomatoes are never mealy, and the garlic flavor is very well pronounced. Lucky boyfriend. My only complaint is that it should be a little less oily, but that far from ruined the flavor for me.

Our food was ready very quickly, so it actually beat our bread, but I’m showing you the pane first since it typically follows the antipasto course.

It’s a soft, fluffy, delicious bread that you can dip into an olive-oil-and-balsamic-vinegar mix or top with the roasted garlic — the garlic rose for which the restaurant is named. I prefer a little of both.

I ordered the eggplant parmesan for my entree.

The meal was huge — I mean, HUGE. I don’t know how many eggplants gave their lives for this dish, but I can say they went for a noble cause. The breading was divine, as was the tomato sauce. The cheese was a little heavy, but it was tasty.

My taller half had his favorite, the insalata caprese:

I sampled the mozzarella, which is some of the best I’ve had in town. I skipped the tomatoes. Someday I really will tell you about my tomato issues. Anyway, he loved it. It was gone from his plate so fast that I didn’t even realized he’d started on his cheese yet.

Somehow, we left room for dessert.

He had the tiramisu:

and I tried the meatloaf covered in cheese — wait, no, it was actually chocolate bread pudding (which didn’t have raisins or any other dried fruit) topped with a creamy sauce:

He won. Mine was good, but his was stellar. Biga makes my favorite tiramisu in town, but Garlic Rose has something to brag about, too.

All in all, it was a lovely dinner. Our waitress, Victoria, and all the other staff were friendly, helpful, and accommodating. Garlic Rose is a great date place. If you’re ever there for lunch, I highly recommend the Artichoke Hearts and Goat Cheese Salad. It’s knock-your-socks-off scrumptious.

Rating: ** for veggie options and **** for deliciousness. (See this post for scoring guide.)

Garlic Rose lives at 3509 S. Peoria behind Abersons.

And let me say that these pictures came from my new, purse-sized camera, a birthday gift from my love. Thank you so much, baby! Now I can snap away less obviously.

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